Interview with Perfect Giddimani: a look at Jamaica
Perfect Giddimani is an eclectic artist. Born thirty years ago in Bamboo, a city in Saint Ann Parish, located in the southern part of Jamaica, he is one of the best exponents of reggae today, thanks to its particular style that has given hime fame and notoriety. He becomes known to public in 2005 with the hit Hand Cart Bwoy, autobiographical track which tells the every day life of a Rasta salesman. Outsiders has interviewed him, first time for Italy, during his tour that is affecting cities across the United States.
How did you start your musical career? Have you been influenced by the environment you were born in and by Jamaican people?
I grew up in a family that had great affinity with music: my grandfather was a banjo player, my mother an amazing singer in the church choir, while my father had a juke boxes business. I have always lived surrounded by these sounds, characteristic of the Jamaican community. When I Was 8 or 9 years old, I started getting interested in music, listening to the dub side of the records my dad had in his juke boxes, then trying to sing the original songs with the same vibe. Soon after I started writing my first lyrics.
If you think about music in Jamaica, you think about Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. In your opinion, as a Jamaican, is this is a reason of pride, or as an artist, a limitation?
Bob and Peter are among the pioneers who invented this beautiful, contagious and soul-rebel music that we call reggae. This is why they will be respected worldwide for the huge contribution they gave to the birth of reggae. However, this happens in every genre of music, like hip hop with Tupac and Notorious, funk and soul with James Brown and Sam Cooke, or pop with Beatles and Rolling Stones. As an artist, however, I do not see it as a limit because today we have many more resources than they could have at that time. Reggae business has increased considerably, our generation of singers has been able to venture to different countries than they did, not only the classical Germany, Italy, England and the United States, but we have reached Hungary, Australia, Israel, Slovakia, Croatia, French Guyana and the list goes on.
Jamaica has elected a new Prime Minister to face the economical crisis we are living. How do you live today in your? How important is the social factor to your lyrics?
Life in jamaica is just the same like i knew it ever since i was born. The economic situation has not changed much, we live in a “strugglers heaven”. The system remains the same because it was designed by a “global elite” to oppress the poorest countries. This factor is always important in my music, because reggae is “sufferers chant”, that was born and raised in the sufferent men backyard. Music has always been the medicine to heal, protect and give hope to people. The struggle to improve will never stop, so my music has to speak about social problems that plague us every day.
What are the three names that motivated you to pursue a career in music business and why they are so important to you?
Definitely Devon Bradshaw from ‘Axx Of Jahpostles’. He’s been the first producer to to approach me at the beginning of his career and the things I learned from him have allowed me to improve considerably. We recorded the album Sweet & Black, that, unfortunately, has yet to be released. Anyway, this album represents my first musical effort, and it will always have a fundamental role in my artistic career.
The second person is Anthony B, “The true revolutionary.” Anthony has the great merit of introducing me to many producers, both local and international. He is the first artisti that took me on a world tour, giving me the chance to perform before and during his sets. I travelled all over Europe with him, from Summerjam in Germany, to Rototom Sunsplash in Italy.
Last but not least, Irene Rose, my mother. She has given me everything, hope, motivation, love, strength, discipline, courage, love, hugs, but most of all she gave me the birth. All these factors, together with many others, helped me to become Perfect Giddimani.
If you were a talent scout, who would you pick in this moment, in Jamaica?
No Maddz. It’s a very talented and original group.
Last summer you went to Salento, called the “Italian Jamaica’. Did you like it there and what is your general impression about Italy?
It’s always a joy to sing in Italy and Salento is, no doubt about it, my favorite region in Italy, because it reminds me of Jamaica: great food and irie people. I think Italians are very loyal and generous, with an unborn love for reggae and Rastafari.
The music business is undergoing a period of crisis, due to piracy. What could be a solution? How can singers make their rights, both economic and artistic, prevail?
Trying to have greater control over art materials can be helpful, absolutely. People should also beaware of piracy protection, publishing, royalties and so forth. Artists also have to try to market themselves more efficiently so they can get more shows and opportunities, as well as getting involved with community development organizations worldwide.